North Texas

Plano Hospital Works to Connect, Recognize Veterans

Inside Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, volunteer Vic Lambert walks the halls with purpose.

Every step is part of a program just to say 'hello' to patients. It's called "Veterans Visiting Veterans," and it's the first program of its kind in a North Texas hospital.

Retired from the Air Force, Lambert is one of eight veteran volunteers who walk the halls each day to recognize patients who've served their country.

Some visits are short, depending on how the patient is feeling, while others can last an hour. Each of them include recognition of the patient's service, but most importantly, volunteers say it's an opportunity to connect.

"Generally, they're proud men and women and, rightly so," Lambert said.

Since the program started in 2017, volunteers have logged 2,500 visits.

For the last few days, Lambert has checked-in on Air Force veteran Kathryn Chesley.

"Oh, I think it’s great," Chesley said. "Absolutely great to have people come by and talk to you."

For Jerry Smith, a veteran of Vietnam, it's a rare chance to connect and reflect on a shared past with a fellow vet.

"I don't think the veterans, for what they give, I don't think they get enough back in return for what they've sacrificed," Smith said. "It's good talking to other people when you have something in common."

"There's a comradery there that's strong," Lambert said.

"It doesn’t matter what branch of service you were in, we’re all one," Smith said.

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